The atmospheric ascent flight phase of the mated composite booster and orbiter is discussed. The composite recoverable space shuttle booster and orbiter exhibits unique flight control characteristics. This uniqueness results from large lifting surfaces and aerodynamic and structural assymetrics. An effective load relief technique reduces aerodynamic loads on both the booster and the orbiter. Reducing aerodynamic loads permits decreasing the structural weight of the lifting and stabilizing surfaces. An orbiter payload penalty is caused by trajectory deviations resulting from load relief. However, the net effect of an effective load relief technique is an increase in payload capability. Atmospheric launch dynamics investigations have been carried out for different configuration types, which include expendable, straight wing, delta wing, and ballistic recoverable boosters.